Nothing stays the same for long – these four things have changed in fishing the last ten years.
It seems like nothing stays the same anymore. Especially in regards to fishing. With so much information at hand, we are constantly changing how we fish, what we fish for, and where we fish.
In the 1970s, bowfishing with recurve bows was a fad that many enjoyed. Now, bowfishing has a new life that is growing in popularity for fisherman and hunters alike. There are boats setup with 40,000 lumen LED lights that light up the night sky, elevated decks to see fish easier, and silent onboard generators to keep everything running electrically. Tracker and others even have boats rigged just for bowfishing. Almost every archery manufacturer now has a line of bows just for bowfishing and everyone seems to have a new product to bolt on your bow to shoot fish.
You did not see this many people bowfishing ten years ago. Noted bowfishing expert Tammie Harwell Veach has noticed a rise in the popularity of bowfishing. Tammie notes that the flooding that Texas has endured the last few years is keeping her boys’ bowfishing business busy.
Technology in bowfishing reels, bows, and arrows along with the tremendous number of non-gamefish have made bowfishing more popular than ever. Tammie’s boys Corey and Chancy Veach shot the 4th largest alligator gar in Texas history at a whopping eight feet long and 208 pounds out of the Trinity River in Texas.
2. Fishing-specific kayaks
Everywhere you go you see a display of kayaks. You can now strap a kayak and pole to the roof of your car and in minutes be on the water fishing. The “millennial fisherman” wants an eco-friendly way to fish close to the suburbs. They want to experience fishing without mortgaging the house for a boat. Even if you don’t consider yourself a “millennial fisherman,” kayaks can get you to places you may not reach with another type of boat. Many smaller bodies of water do not allow a motor, so a kayak is often a great option to reach these out of the way locations.
I understand that people have been using kayaks and canoes for years, but in the last ten years, kayaks have come a long way. Modern kayaks have cup holders, minnow buckets, and rod holders in all the right places. There are a variety of sizes and seating options to choose from. The new models can accommodate one to two people and are lighter and easier to maneuver than ever before. There are larger inflatable kayaks for saltwater and small plastic models for freshwater. Maintenance is simple and you can load/unload by yourself depending on your abilities and model of kayak you have.
3. Shallow water anchoring systems
Ten years ago, these anchoring systems burst on the scene, and tournament fisherman everywhere knew immediately that it was a game changer. You could fish shallow water with a strong current without fighting with your trolling motor. Tournament fishermen love the fact that it is quick to extend and quick to retract – a simple push of the button and you’re locked in. A lot of fishermen are installing two so they can further stabilize the boat in high wind or compensate for heavier boats.
They are not cheap, but once you fish shallow water with them, you will want one. They soon become as prevalent as trolling motors. There is a model for most any type of boat and most manufacturers top out with 28-foot boats and or 4,500 pounds. You can install them yourself, but in many cases that may limit the warranty.
It is important for tournament fishermen to get in and out of the shallow water quickly because they are trying to catch a lot of fish in a short amount of time, therefore a shallow water anchoring system is a must. The weekend fishermen can catch more fish when they are not fighting the boat in shallow water.
4. Side scan fish finders
In many cases, charter fishermen just can’t imagine life without them. The ability to see what’s around the boat is what gives this technology its edge. In the past, “down sonar” gave fish finders the ability to see what was directly under the boat. With “side sonar,” the captain can view fish around bridge-columns or other structures.
Often charter boats use side scan to detect bait fish. Bait fish like mackerel are found outside the outer islands of Boston Harbor near structure. Once you locate a school, you move the cursor over the top of the Mackerel and mark a waypoint. You then can move the boat over the bait fish and use your down scan to detect the depth the fish are at, drop your rig to the exact depth the fish are holding, and you’re in the money.
Advancements in technology have made bowfishing, kayaks, hydraulic shallow water anchoring, and side-scan fish finders more prevalent. Much of that attributed to the fact that they simply work. Just ten years ago, few people were bowfishing or using kayaks to catch fish. Shallow water anchoring systems and side-scan fish finders did not exist. Who knows what we will see in another ten years?